We hear everyday how important entrepreneurs are to our society and how they will be who gets us out of this crisis. I totaly agree with this, although those responsible for the management of our country (Spain) seem to see it the same way
Anyway, there are other figures that are as important as entrepreneurs for the future of our economy but of whom we don’t usually talk about: the intrapreneurs
The intrapreneur is that restless and creative employee who questions the why and the how of things, and is ready to revolutionize the company, leading new projects with the main goal of adding value. In one of Forbes magazine articles we can find five characteristics that identify intrapreneurs:
– Knowledge of internal and external environment
– Visionary and willing to challenge the status quo
– Diplomatic and able to lead cross-functional teams
– Ability to build a professional team on which delegate
– Perseverance, even given the uncertainty
They would probably own a business if they weren’t working in one where they feel accomplished.
I think they have really interesting profiles. They are able to feel the company they work for as their own, finding the way to lead projects adding value and generating wealth. Probably it’s just because they work for others that they are able to take more risks and have a bigger impact than by their own, making them an essential asset in the current business structure.
In my short experience I have met several persons who I consider intrapreneurs, and learning from them is what strengthens me to look for my own way of doing things, of adding value. However, after observing how different companies working in Spain, I have also been able to see the other side of the coin. You can notice how the attitude and work culture in this country are obstacles to this type of people. Companies are designed for employees who stick to a schedule and work on the activities that someone designs for them, on a non efficient way many times I should tell. Rare is the company that relies on the worker and gives him the freedom to grow, innovate and contribute adding value to what they are doing. One of these ‘different’ companies would be Google, which offers 20% of the working hours to develop personal projects.
In addition, we also encounter the culture of “told you so” or “I knew this would happen”. People who try and, for any reason, fail to achieve their goals are seen as losers. The word “failure” is taboo and a big fear in the labor market. While in other countries it’s seen as a virtue to have proactivity and be willing to change things and to be persistent when things are working, here is seen as a big “failure”, something that will pursue you a lifetime. Well, having all this in mind, personally I’d rather be a “failure” if that means I’m trying to change things, If at least I make it happen.
The intrapreneurs are the engine of this country. It seems that large spanish companies are taking a step forward in this regard, companies like Telefonica and Gas Natural are developing initiatives to encourage intrapreneurship offering time off their working hours focused for developing these types of projects, recognition and compensation based on the result
Also, those managers in smaller companies seeking to generate a change are who, thinking on a different way, help us move forward and put this country on the map. Maybe things are not as bad when we have world leaders in innovation leading sectors such as telecommunications and energy, being the leading companies in Latam, continent where the U.S. has being struggling on taking position in these sector for a long.
We have the skill and talent, but it’s also necessary the willing to fight for a change and don’t stop that fight even though others will be looking for your filure. I’ve said it before, I’d rather be a “failure” if it means that I’ve tried. I choose to innovate, add value, question things. Trying to improve and to get the most of it because this is the only way I know of doing things. In short, I prefer to be a “failure” rather than “frustrated” of not trying.